Sony VAIO VGN-SZ1VP Review - Sony VAIO VGN-SZ1VP Review

Below the keyboard is a solid, brushed aluminium wrist rest that looks and feels fantastic. Just off-centre in the wrist rest is a silver touchpad that provides fast and accurate pointer manipulation. The right side of the touchpad can be used to scroll up and down through documents, while the bottom edge will scroll left and right. Below the touchpad are two selector buttons that sit either side of a fingerprint scanner.

Biometric security in notebooks is becoming more and more common, so it comes as no surprise to see that Sony has also started including fingerprint scanners on its notebooks. I’ve got to say that I like the idea of this kind of security, since it makes it easy for the end user to add a level of safety to their notebook. OK, I accept that fingerprint scanners are far from infalable, but given the choice of fingerprint security or no security at all, I’ll take the former. So many users don’t bother to password their notebooks because they don’t want to have to remember the password – fingerprint security on the other hand is quick, simple and requires the user to remember nothing more than which finger they enrolled.

Sony hasn’t cut any corners inside the SZ1VP either, with an Intel Core Duo T2500 chip driving things. The Core Duo T2500 basically gives you two 2GHz processors in one package, and will provide enough raw power for even the most fanatical multi-tasker. With a dual core processor in your notebook you’ll see performance increasing over time rather than decreasing, as applications become multi-threaded and take advantage multiple CPUs. Backing up the Core Duo processor is 1GB of 533MHz DDR2 memory and a 120GB hard disk – that’s a pretty good specification for a machine that measures 315 x 234 x 32mm (WxDxH) and weighs only 1.69kg.

Connectivity is well taken care of with an Intel 802.11a,b and g WiFi adapter, along with integrated Bluetooth, so you’ll have no problem getting online when you’re out and about. There’s also a 10/100Mbit Ethernet adapter and a 56k modem on board.

Despite the slim dimensions of the SZ1VP, Sony has managed to stack a plethora of features and connection options into the chassis. On the right hand side is a DVD writer, two USB 2.0 ports, a modem socket, an Ethernet port and an Express Card slot. It’s good to see the latter since the Express Card slot appeared with the Sonoma generation of Centrino over a year ago, but adoption has been slow.

On the left you’ll find a MemoryCard slot, a PC Card slot, a four-pin FireWire port, a headphone socket, a microphone socket and a D-SUB port for connecting to an external monitor. Finally there’s an integrated webcam mounted just above the screen. The maximum resolution is only 640 x 480, but that’s more than enough for some video conferencing or a bit of fun over instant messenger.

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